“It’s better than Aunt Jemima’s,” sophomore Kimberly Depatie claimed about her family’s homemade maple syrup.
Depatie lives about eight hours away from Eastern on a farm in Highgate, Vermont, where her family runs both a successful farming and sugaring business.
Depatie’s family farm consists of 290 acres, 100 of which are woods, where they tap the trees for their sap. Her family has been in the maple syrup business for over fifty years and for two generations.
Growing up on a farm, Depatie has learned many important life lessons and loves the business.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything; it teaches indispensable lessons and responsibilities,” she said. “You learn natural knowledge and it gives you a better tie to the environment and to nature.”
Depatie’s family’s main business is their farming. Sugaring, the process of making syrup, is their secondary business. Even though it’s secondary, her family makes as much money sugaring as they do farming, and were recently able to build a new barn, twice the size of their old barn.
Their sugaring business has become more advanced in the past few years and is done with a system of pipelines, which are hung on the trees and then attached to plastic spouts placed into the trees.
The sap is collected in the pipes and then drained down, where they then collect it.
“We bring it to the sugar house,” Depatie said. “It goes in a boiler to get the excess water out of the sap where it becomes the consistency of syrup.”
The maple syrup comes in four grades: “fancy, medium amber, dark amber, and grade B, which depends on the flavor and color.”
Depatie is selling her family’s syrup on campus so she can help her family. In Vermont, the syrup is sold locally and then to companies, such as the “Maple Groves Company,” which then sells the syrup all over.
“I was in Tennessee once at a Cracker Barrel,” Depatie said. “And I saw that they had ‘Maple Groves’ Syrup’.”
Depatie is donating 10 percent of the money she raises on her family’s products at Eastern to the Student Aid Fund, which helps students who are having trouble paying for school.
“I’m putting myself through school,” Depatie said. “So I understand that it’s hard.”
Depatie promises that her family’s syrup is better than that found in any grocery store.
“Any store-bought cannot even come close to what real maple syrup is,” she said. “You cannot reproduce something that is natural.”
Depatie’s family offers various types of syrup, which come in either jugs or decorative bottles. They produce nuts, which is a recent endeavor her mother has made and has become one of their most popular products.
For more information about Depatie’s syrup and for ordering you can contact her at her email email@example.com or her extension: 5434.